Andrew Dugmore

(PhD U of Aberdeen, Scotland 1985; Professor of Geosciences, Institute of Geography, School of GeoSciences, U of Edinburgh) The development of both the principles and applications of tephrochronology; Quaternary environmental reconstruction; Human-environment interactions, climate change and glacier fluctuations; Iceland and the North Atlantic islands (andrew.dugmore@ed.ac.uk)

Current PhD graduate student supervisions in geography at the University of Edinburgh: 3

Completed PhD graduate supervisions at U Edinburgh, 1997-present: 23


My research is focused on understanding environmental change over timescales from decades to millennia, and their significance for human society. A key theme is the development and application of tephrochronology; a dating technique based on the identification and correlation of volcanic ash layers. Tephrochronology is important because tephra layers form time-parallel marker horizons or isochrons that provide a powerful dating framework for the high-resolution spatial analysis of environmental change. It is possible to precisely relate spatial patterns of environmental change, inferred using tephras, to high resolution time series of data from ice core records and written records of historical events in order to better understand both climate change and the human dimensions of environmental change. In addition to many applications in the study of environmental change tephra (and the volcanic eruptions that produced them) may also act as agents of change, affecting climate, natural environments and human society.

A particular interest has been the use of fine-grained micro-tephra deposits. These deposits are important because they permit both increased dating resolution in areas close to volcanoes and the use of tephrochronology over very long distances. Since 1982, joint research in Iceland and the NE Atlantic region has contributed to the development of one of the world’s largest and most detailed tephrochronologies: ca. 12,000-year record including more than 300 tephras, and more than 2,000 original stratigraphic sections. Applications of tephrochronology range from dating archaeological deposits to understanding the patterns and processes of soil erosion, slope movements, glacier chronology and the study of glacier processes.

Recent representative publications

  • Casely, A.F. and Dugmore, A.J. 2007 Good for glaciers, bad for people? Archaeologically relevant climate models developed from reconstructions of glacier mass balance Journal of Archaeological Science 34, 1763-1773
  • Dugmore, A.J., Keller, C. and McGovern, T.H. 2007 The Norse Greenland settlement: Reflections on climate change, trade and the contrasting fates of human settlements in the Atlantic islands. Arctic Anthropology 44,1, 12-36
  • Dugmore, A.J., Church, M.J., Mairs, K.A., McGovern, T.H., Perdikaris, S. and Vesteinsson, O. 2007 Abandoned farms, volcanic impacts and woodland management: revisting Thorjsardalur, the Pompeii of Iceland. Arctic Anthropology 44,1 1-11
  • McGovern T, H., Vesteinsson, O., Fridriksson, A., Church, M., Lawson, I., Simpson,I. A., Einarsson, A., Dugmore, A. Cook, G., Perdikaris, S. Edwards, K., Thomson, A., Adderley, P., Newton, A., Lucas,G., and Aldred, O. 2007 Landscapes of Settlement in Northern Iceland: Historical ecology of human impact and climate fluctuation on the millennial scale. American Anthropologist 109, 27-51
  • Newton, A.J., Dugmore, A.J. and Gittings, B.. 2007 Tephrabase: tephrochronology and the development of a centralised European database. Journal of Quaternary Science 22, 7, 737-743
  • Dugmore, A.J., Borthwick, D.M., Church, M.J., Dawson, A., Edwards, K.J., Keller, C., Mayewski, P., McGovern, T.H., Mairs, K.A., and Sveinbjarnardottir, G. 2007 The role of climate in settlement and landscape change in the North Atlantic islands: an assessment of cumulative deviations in high-resolution proxy climate records.Human Ecology 35, 2, 169-178
  • Hubbard, A., Sugden, D.E., Dugmore, A., Norddahl, H. and Petursson, H.G. 2006 A modelling insight into the Icelandic Last Glacial Maximum ice sheet Quaternary Science Reviews 25, 17-18, 2283-2296
  • Smith, K.T. and Dugmore, A.J. 2006 Jokulhlaups circum Landnam: mid to late First Millenium AD floods in south Iceland and their implications for landscapes of settlement. Geografiska Annaler 88A (2): 165-176.
  • Bradwell, T., Dugmore, A.J. and Sugden, D.E. 2006 Little Ice Age glacier maximum in Iceland and the North Atlantic Oscillation: evidence from Lambatungnajokull, southeast Iceland. Boreas 35, 61-80
  • Ascough, P. L, Cook, G. T., Church, M. J., Dugmore, A. J., Arge, S. V. and McGovern, T. H. 2006 Variability in North Atlantic marine radiocarbon reservoir effects at c.1000 AD The Holocene 16,1,131-136
  • Kirkbride, M.P. and Dugmore, A.J. 2006 Responses of mountain ice caps in central Iceland to Holocene climate change, revealed by tephrochronology Quaternary Science Reviews 25, 1692-1707.
  • Dugmore, A.J., Church, M.J., Mairs, K.A., McGovern, T.H., Newton, A.J. and Sveinbjarnardóttir, G. 2006 An over-optimistic pioneer fringe? Environmental perspectives on medieval settlement abandonment in Thorsmork, south Iceland. In Arneborg, Jette and Grønnow, Bjarne (eds.), The Dynamics of Northern Societies. PNM, Publications from the National Museum, Studies in Archaeology and History, Volume 10. Copenhagen: 333-344 IBSN: 87-7602-052-5
  • Edwards, K.J., Borthwick, D., Cook, G.T., Dugmore, A.J., Mairs, K-A., Church, M.J., Simpson, I.A., and Adderley P. 2005 Landscape change in eastern Suduroy, Faroe Islands: a hypothesis-based approach to the determination of natural processes and human artifice Human Ecology 33(5) 621-650
  • Dugmore, A.J., Buckland, P.C., Church, M.J., Edwards, K.J., Lawson, I., McGovern, T.H., Panagiotakopulu, E., Simpson, I.A., Skidmore, P., and Sveinbjarnardottir, G. 2005. The Norse landnám on the North Atlantic islands: an environmental impact assessment. Polar Record 41, 216, 21-37.
  • Ascough, P.L., Cook, G.T. , Dugmore, A.J., Scott, M. and Freeman, S.P.H.T. 2005 Influence of mollusc species on marine îR determinations Radiocarbon 47 (3) 433-440
  • Ascough, P. Cook, G.T. and Dugmore, A.J. 2005 Methodological approaches to determining the marine radiocarbon reservoir effect. Progress in Physical Geography 29 (4): 532-547.
  • Kirkbride, M.P. and Dugmore, A.J. 2005 Late Holocene solifluction history reconstructed using tephrochronology In C. Harris and J.B. Murton (eds) Cryospheric systems: glaciers and permafrost, Geological Society of London Special Publication 242, 145-155
  • McKinzey K. M., Olafsdottir R. and Dugmore A.J. 2005 Perception, history and science coherence or disparity in the timing of the Little Ice Age maximum in southeast Iceland? Polar Record 41 (219): 319-334
  • Edwards, K.J., Lawson, I.T., Erlendsson, E. and Dugmore, A.J. 2005 Landscapes of contrast in Viking Age Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Landscapes 6: 63-81.
  • Ascough, P., Cook, G.T., Dugmore, A.J., Barber, J., Higney, E. and Scott, M.E. 2004 Holocene variations in the Scottish marine radiocarbon reservoir effect.’ Radiocarbon 46,2,1-10
  • Casely, A.F. and Dugmore, A.J. 2004 Climate change and ‘anomalous’ glacier fluctuations: the southwest outlets of Myrdalsjokull, Iceland. Boreas 33,108-122
  • Kirkbride, M.P. and Dugmore, A.J. 2003 Glaciological responses to distal tephra fallout from the 1947 eruption of Hekla, Iceland. Journal of Glaciology 29,166,420-428
  • Dugmore, A.J., Larsen, G. and Newton, A.J. 2003 Tephrochronology and its application to Late Quaternary environmental reconstruction, with special reference to the North Atlantic islands. In Buck, C. and Millard, A. (Eds) Constructing Chronologies: crossing disciplinary boundaries. Lecture Notes in Statistics 177, Springer-Verlag, London 173-189. ISBN 185233763X.
  • Kirkbride, M.P. and Dugmore, A.J. 2001 Can lichenometric dating be used to date the Little Ice Age glacial maximum in Iceland? Climatic Change 48, 151-167
  • Simpson I., Dugmore, A.J., Thomson, A. and Vésteinsson, O. 2001 Crossing the thresholds: historical patterns of landscape degradation in Iceland. Catena 42, 175-192.
  • Larsen, G., Newton, A.J., Dugmore, A.J. and Vilmundardottir, E 2001. Geochemistry,dispersal, volumes and chronology of Holocene silicic tephra layers from the Katla volcanic system. Journal of Quaternary Science 16 (2) 119-132
  • Dugmore, A.J., Newton, A.J., Larsen, G. and Cook, G.T. 2000 Tephrochronology, environmental change and the Norse settlement of Iceland Environmental Archaeology 5, 21-34.
  • Mackintosh, A.N. and Dugmore, A.J. 2000 Modelling Holocene glacier fluctuations and climate change in Iceland. GeoLines 11, 142-146
  • Kitchener, A. and Dugmore, A.J. 2000 Biogeographical change and the tiger, Panthera tigris. Animal Conservation 3, 113-124
  • Larsen, G., Dugmore, A.J. and Newton, A.J. 1999 Geochemistry of historical age silicic tephras in Iceland. The Holocene 9,4 463-471.
  • Bentley, M and Dugmore, A.J. 1998 Landslides and the rate of glacial trough formation.’ Quaternary Proceedings 6, 11-15.
  • Dugmore, A.J. and Newton, A.J. 1997 Holocene Tephra Layers in the Faroe Islands (The Faroese Journal of Natural and Medical sciences) 45, 141-154.
  • Dugmore, A.J., Newton, A.J., Edwards, K.J., Larsen G., Blackford, J.J. and Cook, G.T. 1996 Long-distance marker horizons from small scale eruptions. Journal of Quaternary Science 11, 6, 511-516.
  • Dugmore, A.J., Newton, A.J. and Larsen, G. 1995 Seven tephra isochrones in Scotland. The Holocene 5, 3, 257-266.
  • Dugmore, A.J., Shore, J.S., Cook, G.T., Newton, A.J., Edwards, K.J., and Larsen G. 1995 The radiocarbon dating of tephra layers in Britain and Iceland. Radiocarbon 37,2, 286-295.

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